How are we doing?
Measuring and monitoring organizational communicationOwen Hargie and Dennis Tourish
This book has examined a range of communication issues that are central to effective organizational functioning. Running through all of these, however, is the necessity to evaluate the extent to which any measures introduced to improve communication are actually working. In this chapter, we explore the process of auditing an organization’s communication performance, by examining the following questions:
|• Why is it necessary to audit?|
|• What exactly is the audit process?|
|• How is the audit conceptualized?|
|• What methods are used in the audit process?|
|• Why don’t all organizations audit?|
|• What do audits tend to tell us?|
|• Can the audit be used as a teaching tool?|
Why is it necessary to audit?
In the UK, BBC television broadcast an insightful series entitled Back to the Floor, in which chief executives from a range of companies agree to spend a week being filmed while working on the shop floor. In one of these, screened in 2002, the chief executive of Hoover’s vacuum cleaner manufacturing plant in Cambuslang, Scotland was shown interacting with employees on various parts of the production line. After hearing numerous very perceptive comments from these (mainly female) operatives about huge communication hiatuses, the visibly surprised chief executive concluded that: ‘The big message today was communication. Issues that I thought we’d communicated pretty well on, and we had in fact put a lot of effort in, it’s quite clear some of the issues are not getting through so I think it’s how we can communicate more effectively. ’ This message was confirmed by one of the workers who commented about management: ‘I think they live in cloud cuckoo land sometimes. Different planet from us. They see it from a different angle you know. ’